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In MA, "Watch Your Mouth" This Month

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 By John Robinson/Craig Eicher, Contact
July 14, 2008

Springfield, MA – If you can eat all those summertime treats, like ice cream and corn on the cob, take a moment to thank your mouth. July marks the anniversary of the statewide "Watch Your Mouth" campaign, which is dedicated to eliminating dental disease in children.

One community group participating in the campaign is the BEST (Bringing Early Education Screening and Treatment) Oral Health Program in western Massachusetts, where founder Frank Robinson says they start by getting dental care to kids as early as preschool.

"If we could get in front of the problem by working with preschool age children and their families, we might essentially eliminate oral disease, which is a preventable disease, and arrange it such that these children would start school free of oral disease, healthy, and ready to learn."

More than just toothaches and cavities, Robinson emphasizes dental disease is associated with major illnesses like stroke, heart disease, and complications of diabetes. The BEST program already has completed almost 6,000 restorative and preventative dental services for under-served kids in the region.

Oral health problems don't get a lot of attention, Robinson adds, but they do affect lots of kids.

"When you pull back the veil on the problem, you find it is dramatic, and oftentimes more dramatic than some of the more common chronic diseases that you hear about, such as asthma."

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